The Jungle Warfare Endurance Course is a ball-busting event that builds upon the skill sets learned at the Jungle Warfare Training Center in Okinawa, Japan. The training consists of cliff rappelling, fast-rope rappelling, and a three-strand rope bridge crossing as part of the six-day Jungle Skills Course. The JWTC instructors taught periods of instruction on jungle shelters, water purification, improvised weapons, snares, starting a fire, jungle navigation, and tracking foot-mobile enemies during the training evolution.
Former Marine Scott Witner gives his opinion as a graduate of the school:
The Marine Corps Jungle Warfare Training Center in Okinawa, Japan had to be one of my favorite deployments. Learning how to operate and survive in a jungle environment is vastly different than a desert or woodland environment. There are also threats native to the jungle that you must be aware of. I remember attending a training session, and sitting on the table in front of the class were several glass jars with various snakes in them (mostly venomous). As the glass jars were passed around, the instructors said these were some of the threats to be aware of as we conduct our training. Because of the dense, tropical-like environment, gear and tactics need to change in order to be effective and survive.
Navigation becomes exponentially tougher when working under a double-canopy jungle. GPS units will not be able to locate satellites due to the canopy, which means you must be confident at using a map and compass. A machete or kukri becomes more useful than smaller belt knives to allow you to cut through the thick vegetation, dispatch snakes for food, and for other various survival tasks. As silly as it seems, having a whistle on your person can be a lifesaver (we had OD green tactical whistles).
During a night-time patrol, we had one of our guys step out onto the lower canopy thinking it was the ground, and he fell quite a ways. The only way we could locate him was to follow the sound he was making with his whistle. Speaking of nighttime ops in the jungle, having a good pair of leather gloves is a must. Some of the plants and vegetation have extremely sharp edges on them, as the guy who fell came to realize very quickly as he was trying to grab onto things to stop his fall.
Image courtesy of 4gwar.wordpress.com
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